Or as it is originally known as Aso ebi (pronounced ASHO EYBEE) is a uniform dress that is traditionally worn in Nigeria and some West African cultures as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods. The affordability of fabrics such as Ankara has contributed to the popularity of uniform dressing for social occasions in Nigeria.
The purpose of wearing the dress can be to serve as self-identification so that guests without have to ask can work out how each other are related to the Bride or Groom. For example during a typical Igbo wedding there would be different aso-ebi’s for:
- Family members (Brother’s and Sister’s)
- Extended family (Aunties, Uncles and Cousins)
- School friends (Primary, Secondary or University)
Usually at weddings, the various fabrics for the aso-ebi are decided by the bride, and are then announced to all the guests’ months in advance so they can prepare their outfits. Guests are usually expected to buy the aso-ebi from the bride, but close friends and family members and certain prominent individuals may be presented with the aso-ebi as a gift. Aso-ebi for parties and funerals are generally simple, but aso-ebi for weddings may involve many complex changes with entirely different aso-ebi for different days of the wedding, and for the reception.The affordability of fabrics such as Ankara has contributed to the popularity of uniform dressing for social occasions in Nigeria.